January 1, 2019

Chris Conde – Growing up Gay

Out Now! The impressive debut album from Texas rapper, producer and musician Chris Conde. Featuring Blueprint; with production from Conde himself, Angel Marcloid, Venetian Snares and more.

It’s a bold move to release an album on the first day of the year. By the time people throw their lists together at the end of the year, even the stronger efforts get lost in the sea of so many great releases. But I’m not so sure Growing up Gay will be forgotten by the end of 2019. In fact, if this record is any indication of how songwriting, musical expression or art as a whole is going to trend, I think we’re in for a year of the incredible music.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit biased. Chris Conde is someone I still a call a friend, though we’re not as close, (as time and distance have a way of changing the landscape of friendship) he is still someone I feel the world needs, and this record is strong enough to be the opening and closing statements of that argument.

I met Chris when I lived in Maryland. One summer he just fell effortlessly into my circle of friends and to this day, I’m not sure how. Chris has been creating and releasing music for a long time, but Growing up Gay is special in many ways, and like that summer he came into my life, it stabs you in the heart out of nowhere, and sticks around to nurse your wounds.

Musically, it’s most easily described as hip-hop, but through collaboration with Angel Marcloid, Venetian Snares and others, it dips into the spectrums of electronic, pop and black metal, all of which are being played through a Sega Genesis you left out in the sun.

It’s safe to say this is Chris’ strongest lyrical release as well, tackling complex and painful personal experiences, as well as overarching themes that we’re all suffering with. I could spend hours on how important this release is socially and contextually (Chris is a gay rapper living in Texas), but I feel focusing on that takes the craftsmanship and shine of his work out of the spotlight. I will say— not only is Chris willing to face his own demons head on, he wants to give you the strength to fight yours and hold your hand at the same time.

So if you loved the music from Ecco the Dolphin, nerd out over snare drum hits and glitched out synthesizers, or wish Frank Ocean was into black metal, and a little bit gayer, listen to this record. It’ll hurt you as much as it will heal you, and I think that’s something we all need right now.

– Tommy Hallett